This left us trapped in a foul-smelling, bone-littered tomb. Literally. A little poking around discovered that the main shape of the room was a twenty-foot-wide L. The long part – going north-south – about 60 feet, the short part about 40 feet protruding off towards the east off the southern portion of the main leg. Also, in the south-west corner there is a section of destroyed wall and rubble. Looking at the rubble, we see not only worked stones and unworked rocks, but also bone fragments, casket fragments, and other miscellaneous cruft – including the sparkle of coins.
Pertherditeis, who is apparently having a paranoid-day, says “Don’t touch those!” Everyone is pondering this, but we go along for now. Poking around through the south wall leads to a carved-out section that is roughly a thirty foot diameter circle, five feet high, with a variety of floor-to-ceiling columns where the floor is littered with more of the same sort of debris. There’s also a further hole leading off to the southwest – into an area where the ceiling is only three feet high. And yet, we can see a trail of gold coins leading off into the darkness. Hrrm. Really not delighted. Pertherditeis squeals “Don’t touch these either!” as she squeezes down and follows Slade into this narrow constriction. I hang back with the Wizard, who doesn’t seem interested in crawling around in there either.
Shortly, everyone troops back out of the hole. “There’s a whole warren in there! The coins went for a ways, then petered out. It looked like a really good place to get lost, or stuck, or both! Hey… where’d the coins go! See, I told everyone not to touch them, they’re clearly some sort of trap!”
Pete can’t restrain a giggle. “I, uh, picked them up. I marked the route that they were on, but the coins looked fine to me.” Heh. Well, he’ll have to carry them. There’s a short discussion about what we learned about the undead and evil clerics last week, so a large sack is hauled out, and all the bone fragments that can be found are added to it. Likewise the rest of the rubble is shifted about, collecting the wood for a potential pyre. During the search, 800sp, 15gp, seven vials of holy water, another potion of undead control, and an unknown scroll are unearthed.
So… we’re tied in an underground tomb full of eaten skeletons with no way out. Excellent. Pete and I start searching he room more methodically for anything interesting. At the east end of the L there is eventually a ‘click’ from something we brush against, and we rejoice in opening the secret door there. Slade puts the sack of body parts in an out-of-view spot and douses it with a vial of holy water “Just because.”
Anyway, we’re into a ten foot wide corridor meandering east and south with alternating twists. We’re moving quietly, and as we reach a T in the corridor, Slade holds his hand up to motion us to a halt. Carolin says “What?” Everyone glares at her. “What?!?” Slade motions silence, then motions everyone back up the corridor we just traversed. Carolin says “What’s all this then? I could hear running water to the south when we stopped for a second.”
Slade whispers, “Carolin, I could hear some sort of low growling or speech to the north. I was using hand signals to be as quiet as I possibly could. So, please don’t ask ‘What?!?’ every time I motion for a brief stop.” Pertherditeis is giggling quietly. A quick discussion of what to do next follows. Pertherditeis, at first, wants to go to the water to avoid the creatures. Slade explains that then the critters will be behind us, and she changes her mind. A quick discussion makes me the scout to see what I can see. Hrmm, well, best to demonstrate the folly by just doing it. I drop my pack and jog off to see the sights. The north corridor has some irregularities in the east wall, then opens up on a forty-by-forty room. This room has a northern and a western exit, and the argument comes from the western one. They’re noisy, so I pop on over near to that opening. Yep, several large somethings arguing over something or other. They aren’t animals, I think these would be Gnolls. Back to the intrepid heros.
Here’s the problem: they don’t understand my charades. Heh. Pete is nominated scout number two. That’s a much better plan. Pete reports back with what I’d already discovered, but he doesn’t know what sort of monster this could be. I stack coins on the floor “Gno…” and there’s a thirty-second game of twenty-questions while I finish spelling “Gnoll.” Pertherditeis remarks, “Hey, I can understand the Gnollish language, but I’m not particularly quiet.”
Pete unlaces his boots and remarks “You will be in these, come on, change.” Pertherditeis drops her pack, switches her boots for Pete’s, and trots off on the third scouting mission of a pack of gnolls. Slade’s rolling his eyes and volunteering to be the next lone scout – while fingering his sword. Pertherditeis trots on back, grinning.
“The Gnolls are mercenaries hired by somebody to cause trouble. But there’s also a group of something called Bugbears that are also hired to cause trouble, and there’s a lot of bad blood between them. The argument is over whether they should break their contract and go somewhere where they’re more respected or something.” Heh. The evil critters are being dissed by the evil cleric. Pertherditeis changes into her regular footwear with the comment “Hey, those are quiet!” Anyway, we all troop off to the big room.
In the big room, Slade and Carl take positions near the opening to block it off if they need to. Everyone else essentially lines up behind them. Pertherditeis eventually cues to the fact that she needs to go in front of them if she’s going to do the talking in Gnoll. “Um. Hi.” she says after moving into the opening far enough to actually see Gnolls. Unfortunately, they’re talking way too loudly to hear her. Luckily, they’re talking way too loudly to notice her anyway. Take two: “Hey!” the loud voices taper off after a bit. She discusses this all in Gnoll for a bit. She returns, “I hired nine Gnolls for 30 gold, half now, half after we fight the evil cleric! They hate Bugbears, and they’ll be delighted! I had a little trouble figuring out a good pay rate for them, but we have plenty of coins. Who has fifteen gold?”
Pete speaks up “well, we should pay them in silver… of course. He hands over lots of small sacks of silver from the Ghoul area.” Pertherditeis takes these to the Gnolls, who have appearently never seen anything like hundreds of silver in their life. They’re stacking coins to count that we haven’t cheated them… but the counting itself is abysmal. One, two, five… Arrrrgh! Eventually this is all sorted out, and they lead us to the area in which the Bugbears hang out. That’s through the northern exit of the large room we were in, past one northern corridor on the port wall, and into another large room. There is a door centered in the north wall of this large north-south rectangular room. We entered from the west, and the east wall has three more spaced out doors. The Gnolls move to the east wall – as the door swing into this room so as to obscure that portion of the room. We follow suit, with Slade joining the Gnoll archers at the south western corner of the room. The northern lights are extinguished, and the chief Gnoll will open the door.
“Hey you stupid bearheads. We’ve sighted a whole group of fresh meat, and we’re off to loot and pillage! Make sure you tell the boss you were too busy to hear the rally-cry!” he yells through the door – then he runs towards the western exit. Shortly after him come six of the huge goblinoids called Bugbears. At this point, I’m quite happy we’ve set up an ambush. The archers shoot the front rankas Carl and the lead Gnoll single out one of the front Bugbears for attention. The other eight jump the easternmost Bugbears. Pete andI wait for the last Bugbear to get clear of the door, step right behind him, and lay into him. Pete has an excellent attack, and I’m able to finish this one. Heh, we’re the first to manage to bring one down.
Another brief flurry of fighting leave one Gnoll dead, and a pile of Bugbear parts. 72gp and a silver necklace(450 = 4×50 + 1×100). Those are some big morning-stars.